Dressage At Lexington is always a big show for us. It’s three days long, at one of our favorite venues; it’s in the middle of July, after all the chaos of Spring qualifying things has calmed down. We always end up having quite a herd, and the original number was 10-12, with me showing two or three, and Allison showing two or three, and there we were. No big deal.
And then it was 15, with me showing three and Allison showing three. And I started to get a little nervous. We still have an open working student position at home, and with that many horses, I was worried about having enough staff to get it all done in both places.
And then it was 18, with me riding five and Allison riding four. And they started calling for temps in the 90s. And the panic set in.
Fortunately, a few things are true. First, our clients are all TRAINED, even our beginners. They know the system, they know how to get to the ring on time, they know what their warmup should look like, so they’re self-sufficient when neither Allison nor I can be there. They also know how to help out, bringing water and gatorade and towels pretty much everywhere (you’d be amazed at what you can repair with water and a towel), and holding horses or combing out tails or finding a chin pad for a noseband or just handing us a sandwich and saying, “Sit down for five minutes before you pass out, you lunatic.”
But mostly, we just run a pretty professional ship. We had four trailers to take the nine horses leaving our farm alone, all packed neatly, with everything we needed in them (including some things we didn’t, which is far preferable to the other way around). I had typed schedules for each day hanging in each of our four tack stalls. We brought in emergency help—a round of applause here to Laurie and Molly, who are awesome, and thank you! We had a plan, and it was a good plan, and it was executed brilliantly.
So the show ran great. Our clients all had great rides, as did Allison, particularly on her four-year-old mare Whaikiki, who has finally figured out (or resigned herself to the truth, probably) that her life is easier when she just lets her mother make the executive decisions. I also had super rides: Jamie Hedges’ Windhorse Ysis suffered through the worst of the post-monsoon footing and got a little hung up, but got a qualifying score for the Regional Finals, and was pretty dang cheerful about it all. I rode Caroline Stephens’ Three Times like absolute crap in the first Prix St. Georges test we did, but the second two were quite solid. My mom’s Dorian Gray is in that stage in his life, being six, where if he doesn’t know the answer, he just flings his legs higher and harder which, while kind of fun, is not terribly productive; we’re also still getting to know each other, but he improved from test to test, got a qualifying score as well, and was on almost 70% by the time the show was over.
And Fiero, Bev Thomas’s little superstar, rocked all of our worlds by earning almost 77% in his Third Level debut with a fault-free test that included, among other highlights, a 9 on his last centerline and a 10 on the halt. We’ll take it!
But while everyone had great rides, the highlight for me was watching my wonderful friend Billy take my wonderful student Kristin around their Fourth Level AND Prix St. Georges debuts, with solid rides on all. I had to miss her PSG—I was, of course, riding—but the grin on her face as she left the ring said it all.
I’m writing this from my hotel at the NAJYRC, for which Kristin was the alternate to the Region 1 Junior team. Of course we were bummed that she just missed a spot on that team—truly by tenths of a percentage point—but as she’s now only one score away from her USDF Silver Medal, and has not yet turned 14, I’d say we made some mighty fine lemonade out of that little lemon.
A huge thank you to all my students, staff and friends for making our weekend such a success!